“Modeng” Elieen Chang: Fashion Consciousness and Female Subjectivity
|Authors:||張小虹||Keywords:||張愛玲;現代性;時尚意識;上海研究;商品文化;Eileen Chang;Modernity;Shanghai Studies;Fashion Consciousness;Commodity Culture||Issue Date:||31-Jul-2001||Publisher:||臺北市：國立臺灣大學外國語文學系暨研究所||Abstract:||
Characterized as social, economic, aesthetic, sexual, psychological formations,
fashion tends to stand as one of the major defining features of modernity. On the one
hand, it offers a flexibility of self-representation in the rapid change of time by encoding
a shifting “now-ness” with constant innovations. It enacts, on the other hand, a magical
accession to the past by perpetuating a recycling of history. In the words of Walter
Benjamin, “fashion is a tiger’s leap into the past.”
This research project aims at re-visioning Eileen Chang’s works from this newly
developed connection of urban modernity and fashion consciousness. It attempts to
resituate Chang’s writing in the cultural and material matrix of Chinese urban modernity
by taking the semi-colonized Shanghai, the Paris of Asia in the 30s and 40s, as its major
metropolitan setting. It tries to explore how the transformation of gendered subjectivity
is deeply implicated in the fluctuations of modern fashion and how the fascinating power
of commodity culture helps to reshape modern sensibility.
Three major aspects will be foregrounded in this studies: (1) the differentiation
between pre-modern notion of costume and modern notion of fashion conducted under
the dynamics of clothing, body, gender and modernity (2) the material social formation
of female subjectivity and the fashion impact on Chinese “modern” women, including
Chang, her mother, her aunt, and her close female friends (3) urban women’s
relationship to commodity–on-display under the advent of the image culture and the
spectacle society facilitated by the power of photography, film and advertisement.
Through a textual, historical and materialist analysis, this research project will draw out
the gender difference of urban vision between women’s perspective developed in Chang’s
writing and the andro-centric focus provided by both the semi-traditional fictions of the
Butterfly school and the city novels by neo-sensationalists. It will thus hope to highlight
the dynamics of material culture and psychic formation in the development of fashion
consciousness of Shanghai women during the 30s and 40s.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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